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Only 49% of American Workers Find Managers Take Performance Reviews Seriously

Less Than Half of Workers Find Feedback 'Constructive'

March 6, 2006 - It happens at least once a year. Some employees may dread it, others may welcome it, but whatever the case, performance reviews are a must. Only 49% of American workers find managers take performance reviews seriously, according to a new survey by Adecco Staffing North America, a unit of Adecco SA, the world's largest workforce solutions provider. Furthermore, less than half of American workers (44%) say they receive constructive feedback and 47% of workers say they would feel better if the review process was a two-way street.

"Performance reviews always deserve to be taken seriously because career development is a critical matter," said Raymond T. Roe, president of Adecco Staffing North America. "Reviews are an effective way to gauge an employee's productivity and discuss career growth. However, unless managers give constructive feedback, they can forget about building a dialogue with workers and run the risk of losing top talent to other companies."

American workers have other concerns about performance reviews, the Adecco Staffing survey found. One-fourth of respondents (24%) believe reviews aren't given on a regular basis and 18% feel their long term career goals are not discussed.

"Workers may feel they are in the dark about how they fare in their boss' eyes and oftentimes, may think their employers are too busy with other work to help them see the light," said Roe. "There are some basic things employers and employees can do to help make performance reviews more beneficial and productive for both parties."

The following are key attributes of an effective and engaging performance review for both employers and employees:

For employers:

  • Be specific. Informed workers are more productive workers. For example, instead of saying "your last report wasn't very good," say "next time you write up a report make sure you include X, Y and Z."
  • Use 360-degree reviews. As opposed to a typical performance review evaluation, which assesses a worker's performance, a 360-degree review shows how the employee achieved the output. It identifies areas of personal and management development and leads to a better understanding of which relationships are working in your company and which ones are not.
  • Provide regular feedback. No employee should be completely surprised by a review. Throughout the year, tell employees where they stand, what's working well and where they need to improve. Dumping a list of complaints on someone unexpectedly during a review will not be beneficial to anyone.

For employees:

  • Know the system. Make sure you understand how your company handles the review process. Are there forms or self-evaluations you need to fill out? Knowing what's expected of you will allow you to better prepare yourself and accurately articulate your accomplishments.
  • Focus on your exceptional contributions. Highlight the contributions you made to the company and the results that went beyond your job description and proved your capabilities. Keep track of these accomplishments throughout the year so you have a complete list at review time. Showcase some specific examples of your work to illustrate how productive you've been and to refresh your boss' memory. Your boss will be impressed with your preparedness and with your determination to advance your career.
  • Think ahead. What do you need to do to get to the next level? Assess your current situation and position. Are you handling responsibilities that are more advanced and will enhance your career? The only way you will prove to your boss that you are ready for the promotion you've been working towards is to seek out more work and tasks that will be required of you after you advance to the next level.

The Adecco Staffing North America 2006 Performance Reviews Survey is a part of its ongoing "Workplace Insights" series, focused on exploring what's on the minds of today's workforce.

Survey Methodology:

The current results are based upon telephone interviews with a representative sample of 2,024 adults, 18 years of age or older, who are employed full-time. Participants included 1,013 men and 1,011 women living in private households in the continental U.S. Opinion Research Corporation's Caravan conducted interviews between January 26-30, 2006. The margin of error is approximately plus or minus four percent. A copy of the survey questionnaire can be provided upon request.


Adecco S.A. is a Forbes 500 company and the global leader in HR Solutions. The Adecco Group network connects 700,000 associates with business clients each day through its network of 28,000 employees and more than 6,000 offices in 72 territories around the world. Registered in Switzerland, and managed by a multinational team with expertise in markets spanning the globe, the Adecco Group delivers an unparalleled range of flexible staffing and career resources to corporate clients and qualified associates.

The Adecco Group comprises three Divisions, Adecco Staffing, Ajilon Professional and LHH Career Services. In Adecco Staffing, the Adecco Staffing network focuses on flexible staffing solutions for global industries in transition, including automotive, banking, electronics, logistics and telecommunications; Ajilon Professional offers an unrivalled range of specialized branded businesses and LHH Career Services encompasses our portfolio of outplacement and coaching.

Adecco S.A. is registered in Switzerland and is listed on the Swiss Exchange (ADEN / trading on Virt-x: 1213860), the NYSE (ADO) and Euronext Premier Marche (12819).

Additional information is available at the Company's website at

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